This municipality was formed in 1973 by the union of the previously independent municipalities of Játar, Fornes and Arenas del Rey. Built on a slope at the foot of the mountain and along the Embalse de los Bermejales resevoir, the current town of Arenas del Rey is just a little over a century old, having been completely destroyed by the devastating earthquake of 25th December 1884 which took the lives of many of the locals.
It was rebuilt and the most modern part of town called Poblado del Embalse was built in the 1960s. It is next to the dam and is one of the most spectacular landscapes in the region. First you see the gorge of the Río Cacín and behind it a thick forest of conifers. The reservoir provides irrigation for the entire region of Granada and is also an excellent recreation and sports centre. During the summer it is very popular with children and young people.
Traces of Roman, Arabic and Christian settlements have been found here, but there is little information of these early settlers. In the 19th century, during the War of Independence, it was occupied by French soldiers. In 1884 the town centre was devastated by an earthquake that almost completely destroyed the town. Reconstruction began in 1898 about 500 meters from the town’s old location, with funds from donations from all over the country and even abroad.
The area of Arenas del Rey grows all sorts of grains, olives and almonds. Rabbits, hares and partridges are hunted in the area, all of which are used in local dishes. Játar produces some delicious handcrafted cheeses.